Monday, June 16, 2008

“spending all day long reading blogs can be so paralyzing.”

As Lindsey Palmer enters the Starbucks at which I’m stationed for most of the aforementioned sweltering day, she asks me if I'd like a drink. I decline, being sufficiently caffeinated from my previous meeting with Suzanne Maynard Miller, so we bask in the air-conditioning sans coffee.

Palmer is employed as an assistant editor at Redbook, a job that she thoroughly describes as being “50% writing, 25% research, stats, and idea generation, 15% administrative, and 10% managing interns and teaching.”

With such a full plate, it took Palmer a while to figure out how to incorporate writing fiction, the seductive not-quite career that she loves, into her bustling New York City life. “I love fiction because it’s not relevant in the way that magazine writing is… not to sound ‘new age-y’ or anything, but it’s a very grounding way to be with yourself.”

Today, an enormous amount of relevant information (assuming that everything from Lindsay Lohan’s questionable sexuality to the presidential election can be deemed “relevant”) reaches the general public. We are all swimming, or drowning, in an info-saturated ocean. It can be a relief to read and write about things simply because they interest you, not because you are trying to win the “Who Can Be The Most Informed” race. Palmer actually thinks it’s unfortunate that we have access to so much information, observing that some of her coworkers “spend all day long reading blogs – [doing this] can be so paralyzing.”

In the few years that Palmer has worked at Redbook, she has witnessed many changes in the publication, all of which are like blinking neon arrows pointing towards the Internet. Redbook’s first web editor was hired in January of 2006, and since then the publication has hired two more, making the site a “huge part” of the magazine.

However, while many journalists and editors equate the rise of the Internet to the demise of printed publications, Palmer doesn’t think that the Web could ever replace magazines entirely – “they are two different activities,” she says. “Shorter amounts of time are spent online, so online material is more like ‘snippets’ as opposed to long essays [in magazines].”

Palmer cleverly labels the key difference between the two as the difference between “bathtub” reading and “desk” reading. Chronic bath-takers such as myself (much to the amusement of my friends, who either call me a grandma or a five-year-old) enjoy reading longer magazine articles while soaking in the tub. Of course, that whole no-electronics-in-water thing affects this trend as well.

On the other hand, short blurbs are much more conducive to sitting at a desk at work, when you can only afford to steal glances at your favorite blogs

Internet reading and magazine reading are like cricket and baseball – they’re in the same family and look sort of similar from the outside, but they are completely different activities in actuality.

1 comment:

dgold911 said...

I think the more avenues available to get information the better. We all still have the ability to pick and choose what, where and when we want to read. So why not have lots of options? For an information junkie like me its heaven!